WMU News

MLK birthday observed in series of events, Jan. 17-21

Jan. 7, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Economic power and social justice are key issues to be explored during Western Michigan University's week-long 2000 observance of the birthday of the late Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17-21.

The celebration includes the annual all-University convocation at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, in Miller Auditorium. The event, which is open to the public, represents a celebration of the life and work of King, who died in 1968 at the hands of an assassin. It includes speakers, two gospel choirs, WMU's Gold Company II vocal jazz group and dance presentations.

Speakers will include WMU President Elson S. Floyd, WMU alumna Barbara Lett Simmons of Washington, D.C., and William Santiago-Valles, director of WMU's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations.

Other major events include a commemorative march, a discovery day for area K-8 students, a student festival and a lock-in as well as an MLK speech contest. In addition, WMU colleges, offices and departments will present a variety of special programs throughout the week.

This year's theme is "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Economic Power and Social Justice from a Global Perspective." It was selected by the Faculty Senate's MLK Committee, which is chaired by Trudy Cobb, associate professor of dance.

"We're very excited about this year's theme and its ability to attract a wide range of participating offices, departments and student organizations at WMU," Cobb says. "We're pleased that the larger community also is involved in our observance in a variety of ways."

WMU's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations is coordinating the University's MLK 2000 observance. More information is available from the institute at (616) 387-2141. Detailed information also is available on the World Wide Web at <www.wmich.edu/mlkday>.

The site includes a link to "MLK at WMU," a comprehensive presentation on King's visit and speech at WMU on Dec. 18, 1963, as well as other resources. Staff members in the Archives and Regional History Collections, a part of the WMU Libraries, and the Office of Information Technology produced the site.

Major events this year include:

In addition, the Residence Hall Association will sponsor its annual MLK speech contest. Interested persons may enter the contest or get more information from Steve Veldkamp, assistant director of student activities and leadership programs, at (616) 387-2115.

MLK Day Committee members include:

Students: Allison Green and Sien-Sien Tan.

Faculty members: Trudy Cobb, associate professor of dance; Dr. Elen M. Cutrim, assistant professor of geography; Dr. Vincent Lyon-Callo, assistant professor of anthropology; and Dr. Delores D. Walcott, assistant professor in the University Counseling and Testing Center.

Staff members: Katrina R. Chester, coordinator of student volunteer services; Diana Hernandez; director of the Martin Luther King Jr./Cesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Program; Katherine Ill, assistant director of student recreation; Michael J. Matthews, senior communications associate in university relations; Dr. William F. Santiago-Valles, director of the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations; and Stevan J. Veldkamp, assistant director of student life.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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